Have you ever wondered why God tests us? In my younger years I couldn’t make sense of it. It seemed unfair and unkind to me. Even so, I chose to trust God, hoping that one day I might understand. I made a choice not to allow my lack of understanding of God’s ways to put me off track. After all, He’s God Almighty. There are many things none of us will fully comprehend until we get to Heaven. Until then, we trust in what we do understand: God is love – all the time, God is faithful – all the time, God is truth – all the time, God has our best interests in His heart – all the time. When we focus on what we know, rather than on points in which we lack understanding, our trust and faith continues to grow.
Back to the question – why does God test us? As I matured a little, I surmised that God wanted to see how strong we were when things got tough. That wasn’t quite right. Now that I’ve matured yet a bit more, I come to realise a wonderful truth about the testing of God. It came to me while reading about Abraham.
God had promised Abraham a son. He and his wife were past the age of having children, but God had promised, and it was so. Abraham and Sarah had a son named Isaac. God had also promised, that through Isaac, his descendants would be more numerous than sand on the seashore. Imagine the height of Abraham’s ecstasy when Isaac was born. Now imagine the depth of his dismay when God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. We read in Hebrews 11:17, “It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him.” We could easily think of this test as harsh beyond fairness. Did God not trust Abraham? Was God wanting to see if Abraham would fail the test? The answer is “no” to both questions.
God knew Abraham’s heart. God knows your heart and my heart. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” God knows our hearts far better than we know it. The heart harbors both good thoughts and evil thoughts. It is a constant fight to bring it into right and holy thinking. We are encouraged in Proverbs 4:23 to, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” That’s a powerful verse of information and instruction to us.
Why did God test Abraham? It wasn’t so God would be convinced of the purity of Abraham’s faith in God’s ways. It was so Abraham himself would be certain of his own heart’s devotion to the God he worshipped, served and believed.
We all doubt ourselves. The enemy, Satan, seeks every opportunity to grasp hold of our doubts, and then whispers lies to weaken our resolve to walk with God. Therefore, God will test us, not to watch us fail, but to help us see how strong we really are, and that the strength is there all because we have put our faith in Him. Doesn’t that give a fresh light to the purpose of testing? Once again, we see our Father’s love in action, as He cheers us on in our race, to finish the course on which we run with joy and great reward.
Therefore, fellow travellers along life’s journey; when testing comes, refuse to let your heart dwell on the lies of Satan. Choose instead, to keep your eyes focused on the One who provides all the strength you need to run the race. Such strength is ours for the taking. Remember, He is our everything to get us through anything.